In the latest development in Agudath Israel’s four-year legal battle, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against Jackson Township, NJ’s discriminatory and unconstitutional ordinances banning of yeshivos, dormitories, and interpretation of zoning laws prohibiting eruvin today. While a final ruling on the merits awaits, the receipt of a preliminary injunction is a strong statement by the court, considered an extraordinary form of relief in the legal system
In discussing the religious significance of schools, dormitories and eruvin, the ruling relied extensively on the testimony of Rabbi Avi Schnall, director of Agudah’s New Jersey Office, and members of Jackson’s Orthodox community. The court also cited acrimonious statements some residents of Jackson have expressed toward Orthodox Jews and noted, “Defendants maintain that the Township Council’s decisions were not motivated by anti-Semitic animus exhibited by others. But the record suggests otherwise.”
Rabbi Schnall noted that while the Agudah prefers not to resort to suing a government entity, this case was important not only for the many Jewish residents of Jackson Township, but for Jewish residents nationwide. As the latest legal victory for religious communities, this case sets an important legal precedent against discriminatory laws designed to keep Orthodox Jews out.
“This verdict is a tremendous step forward,” said Rabbi Schnall. “The judge made it clear that ordinances that are drafted with the intent of hampering the growth of a religious community are unconstitutional and this long awaited ruling will allow the growing Orthodox population in Jackson to freely exercise their religious rights.”